From Saturday, the health pass will become compulsory to access one’s workplace in Luxembourg, in accordance with a law passed after the outbreak of the Omicron variant in December.
This measure, which aims to speed up the vaccination against Covid-19, was announced by Prime Minister Xavier Bettel on 29 November.
He had pointed the finger at a vaccination rate “too low to avoid overloading hospitals,” at a time when information on the high infectivity of Omicron was leading to fears of renewed pressure on the healthcare system.
In the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, 65% of the total population is fully vaccinated – a lower figure than in France or Belgium – and 42% have received the “booster” dose, according to official figures.
From Saturday, non-teleworking employees will have to be able to show proof of a full vaccination schedule, a recovery of Covid-19 or a recent negative test (less than 24 hours old for rapid antigen test, less than 48 hours for PCR ones) at work.
The obligation concerns both the public sector and private companies.
An employee who does not show a health pass, however, cannot be dismissed. Those who do not show a pass or are unable to do so will have to take leave or forfeit their salary when their leave runs out, the authorities said.
Luxembourg, a small state of 630,000 inhabitants wedged between Germany, Belgium and France, has been regularly beating records for infections in recent weeks, with around 30% of tests positive in recent days. With 20 people in intensive care out of a total of 69 Covid patients being treated in hospital, its healthcare system is not yet overwhelmed.
Italy’s green card
In Italy, a similar regulation has been in place since mid-October: employers are allowed to ask their employees for their health pass, called a “green card.” Staff who refuse to show it can be suspended and lose their wages, but cannot be fired.
In Belgium, showing the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) to be allowed to physically go to work is not required, even though nearly all employers’ organisations in the country have indicated that they would be in favour of such an obligation.
On Thursday evening, Corona Commissioner Pedro Facon made it clear that he would prefer the introduction of a new, stricter “corona certificate” over a general vaccination obligation to boost vaccination. In practice, that certificate would become a vaccination certificate, meaning the current recovery certificate would be scrapped, reports the Belga News Agency.
However, Facon stressed that if his proposal is implemented, the certificate should never be required for essential activities, such as work.